You may recall, I once confessed that I am a Latisse user.  As a self-proclaimed mascara junkie, I have a thing for lashes.  I have used Latisse for a few years, off and on, to grow my lashes.  But, Latisse is very expensive.  Recently, the salon I work for began to sell a new Lash Serum, and I was more than happy to give it a try.  

Let me say Grande Lash did not disappoint!  I actually have much better results from it than I did from Latisse!  If you are consistent, and I mean seriously faithful, your lashes will blow you away!  I have a friend who has longed for longer, fuller lashes forever.  I recommended it to her, and within two weeks she couldn't believe how incredible her lashes were.

Grande Lash couldn't be easier to use.  The box will direct you to apply it once a day at night.  Well, I did that for a few weeks and it definitely worked.  Then I got a tip to apply it twice a day, first thing in the morning and at night before bed.  LIFE CHANGING!  I'm not kidding, it's amazing!  Even without mascara my lashes look great; with mascara of course, it's even better!

 

Mind you, I am terrible at taking pictures of my eyes.  The angle...all wrong.  The lighting...all wrong, but that's what makes me real, right?  That's what I tell myself anyway.  However, I think my results speak for themselves.  Literally, almost every week someone asks me if I'm wearing false lashes.  

I'm sure you have seen so many other brands, and I can't speak for them since I have never tried them.  I'm sure they are wonderful as well.  So, if you were skeptical on the whole lash serum thing, it's no joke; you need to try it.   FYI, I started my recent lash journey in January, and my first bottle lasted me about 4 months.  

If you live in the Cincinnati area you can stop by any Paragon Salon to pick up yours, (no, I don't get paid to say that).  If you cannot get to a Paragon Salon, I'm sure you can find it online.

"18 Summers is All You Get", was the title of an article my friend recently sent me.  I couldn't even get past the title to open it.  Life is short, time with our children under our own roof is even shorter, and the reality of it is hitting me hard these days.

The older I get, the more I realize that life is about choices.  My work as a Makeup Artist is so fulfilling to me.  Using my talents to make women feel confident and beautiful is such a gift, and believe me when I tell you I'd love to do this 24/7.  These days I feel like there are two halves to me.  There is on one hand a woman who loves being an artist, and would pursue this career 24/7 without hesitation.  Then there is another part of me, a wife and mother of three who is obsessed with spending every free moment with her beautiful babies whether they like it or not.  And let's face it, the majority of my work happens on weekends and evenings.  Since my children are all now in school, that schedule doesn't work for me as it once did.  While I feel torn most of the time, I know where my heart truly lies:  with my children.

This year my business has exploded; not sure why but 2017 is the year to get married!  I have turned down more weddings this year than I can count, and it breaks my heart each time I have to say no.  But I have to say no.  I don't want to miss out on life with my family.  Missing soccer and baseball games pains me.  On the other hand, I feel like without having this outlet of artistry I wouldn't be myself either.  It's hard to feel so torn.  My plan for this year was to never take more than 2 weddings a month.  Well, I'm not sure what happened, but I didn't follow my own advice.  This month has been insane!  Hence, the lack of blog posts from me lately.  I think the reason I get myself into these situations is because you never know when the next job will come.  I may get 3 bookings one month, but have nothing the next month.  This year has taught me not to worry about that; the jobs will definitely come.  My schedule for this year is officially closed, and I plan to make a few changes for next year as well.  At this time I have also decided I will no longer do individual makeup lessons for those wanting to learn.  I'm always here to advise you, but it's too much of a struggle to find the time to meet.  My love for what I do is another reason I have decided to create some boundaries.  Keeping my artistry a hobby, and not a job, keeps it exciting to me.  I don't want to grow to hate something I love so very much by doing it too much.

 

Luckily for me, I have an amazing husband who can handle the shuffle of three kids with ease.  I'm also blessed to have parents who devote their weekends to my kids' games, so they are always happy to pitch in when we have to be two places at once.  Typically, I'm finished with my work by early afternoon, so I get the chance to race to those afternoon games.   When I can't make it, my kids are sure to fill me in on play by play (by play) of their games.

For now I'm going to focus on balance.  It's the key to life, right?  Balance between work and play;  balance between enjoying the food we love, and the food that's good for us; balance between getting things done, and taking time reset; balance between being with your kids every minute, and finding time for your spouse.  It's all about BALANCE.  It's the hardest struggle in life, but I think it's the key to a happy life.  

 

Be sure to follow me of Facebook & Instagram.  I'm going to try to be a little more active on my social media since the blog posts have been hit or miss lately.  

 

Have you seen these things?  Are you thinking it may be some kind of insert for your shoes?  It's not.  Maybe you are thinking it's one of those things you might place in your bra to give you a little something extra; not that I would ever do that 😉  Nope, not that either.  This is actually called a Silicone Makeup Sponge.  I picked mine up on Amazon for about $10.  Still have yet to see any in the stores, but I'm sure it's coming soon.

 

It's designed to apply your foundation.  Ideally, it sounds amazing; promising to use much less foundation than traditional brushes or a beauty blender, because the product won't actually absorb into the sponge.  Also designed to be super easy to clean and sanitize; I couldn't wait to get my hands on it...until I did.

Starting as I typically do, I applied the foundation to the back of my hand, dipped the Silicone sponge into the product, and pressed it onto my skin.  Boy, they were not joking when they said you will use much less foundation.  I had WAY too much, and had to work it all over my face instead of just the one cheek area I had originally planned.  This is where things became challenging; I couldn't actually work the product in.  When it comes to applying foundation I love to press it into the skin, so it kind of melts in.  With this applicator you cannot do that.  

So, I tried to slide the foundation around my face.  It worked, but I spent a lot more time playing with it than normal, and Honey, I just don't have time for that.  Of course I realize that maybe if I try harder it would become easier.  Believe me when I say, I really wanted to like this; really bad.  The idea of using less foundation, and having a tool that was easier to clean than a makeup sponge (because those things are the biggest pain in the "you know what" to clean) was truly appealing.  I didn't actually give up after one try, I tried for two weeks to fall in love with this thing.  Finally, I researched Youtube to see if I could find someone who demonstrated using this with a particular technique.  What I found was that many other artist out there didn't care for it either.  Now, that being said, there were plenty who did like it.  I even have a friend who adores hers.  For me it just didn't make the cut.  There has to be something I'm missing.  

For now, I'm back to my beauty blender, but I promise to continue to try with this Silicone sponge.  If I find any new tips or tricks I promise to circle back and give you an update.  What can I say; you win some, you lose some.

A few weeks ago I made a post on Facebook about an old school makeup palette of mine.  While you all were supposed to be focusing on the shadow, many of you were distracted by my awesome nails 😉  Today I'll let you in on what that shade was...

Well, here it is...Essie Penny Talk.  This is honestly the only bottle of nail polish that I have literally hit rock bottom on.  Most polishes I throw away because they become thick, and too hard to manipulate half way through the bottle.  Penny Talk has become such a staple of mine it never got the chance to get thick.  I find it to be the perfect neutral.  It's great as a transition shade in the Fall & Spring.  It also works well if you are going out and wearing bright colors and want something a little under the radar.  On all skin tones it's truly flattering.

Another neutral I recently picked up is Morgan Taylor's No Way Rose'.  You can see that it is very similar to the Essie shade.  In my mind the Essie shade as a smoother, satin like finish.  The Morgan Taylor shade, on the other hand, has a bit of sparkle to it.  Both equally gorgeous.  

You should see these two colors on toes, too!  I mean, you won't see my toes, because no matter how transparent I'd like to be, showing my toes is absolutely off limits.  Trust me they are weird!

Many places carry Essie: Target, Meijer, Ulta.  The Morgan Taylor is a professional brand and can only be found on Amazon.  What are some of your favorite transition shades?  I'd love to hear.

About a month ago I was on a mission to find a new blush. Of course this led me to Ulta; a place that is a little too close to home at this point. Roaming the aisles I discovered the NYX Baked Blushes. With a price tag of only $6.99, and a promotion of buy one, get one 1/2 off I decided to get a few. I mean how could I resist, right? One shade in particular will be perfect for Spring; Wanderlust. A fresh, delicate shade of peach with just a touch of shimmer. For anyone with fair to medium skin tone it will work for you. If you have darker skin you will want to grab something a little brighter.

The finish on these baked blushes is incredible. While my kit does include a few baked powders I wondered what the difference was. I decided to do a little investigating of my own and share it with you all.

Basically these products all start out as creams but are baked for a period of time to turn them into solids. The process gives them a more creamy, velvety texture. With this blush in particular you can really feel that if you glide your finger across it, it’s almost like silk. Not to mention the colors become more pigmented, allowing the application to be more concentrated with a luminous finish.

Overall baked products are ideal for anyone. Try them for yourself and you will see the difference.If you are interested I highly recommend the baked products from NYX. I mean for that price you should have a couple. That’s what that little demon in my head always says anyway 🙂

 

You know I always appreciate you following the blog, especially when I can't be as consistent as I would like.  Life happens and things come up.  Follow me on Instagram & Facebook so we can stay connected.  

I am often asked what my favorite eye shadow palette is.  This is always a hard one for me to answer.  For one thing, there are so many out there.  For another thing, I know how most of you are, and I know how I am.  You are going to buy a shadow palette with 12 different shadows and you are probably only going to use about 3 of them.  It's super annoying when you use a palette and run out of that one shade you use the most.  Now what?  Buy a whole new palette for just one shade?  

Urban Decay realized this was a problem and created a solution...sort of.  All the shades that come in their palettes are also offered as single shades.  Essentially, if you run out of your favorite shade you can go buy a single of that shade to replace it.  The annoying part remains that now you have one single shade and a palette you need to pull out or take with you when you travel.

Then Buxom came along with the most genius idea yet!  They now offer a palette where you can snap in individual shades!  VOILA!   For just $40 you get the empty palette + 6 shades to start.  Then as you run out of your favorite shades you can purchase the refills and snap them into the palette!  Not to mention that you get to pick all 6 shades yourself.  That means you will not have those random shades you know you will never use!  Once I discovered this little gem I flipped!  Of course you know me...I obsessed for weeks over which shades I wanted in my original set.  Having my palette for several weeks now I couldn't be happier.  It's also worth mentioning that each of these single shades is about three times larger than the shades you will find in the Urban Decay palettes.  For only $40 it's an amazing deal!

Remember that time I longed for the Dior Airbrush foundation, but it broke my commandment of expensive foundations?  Well, I finally tried it my friends.  I did!  After receiving a gift card I decided to throw caution to the wind, and purchase that foundation I've been eyeing for years.  And you know what?  I wasn't impressed.

I know right?  Bummer.  You should have seen me that first day of using the luxurious foundation.  Like a kid in a candy store I couldn't wait to use it that day.  I was sure when I finished I was going to look like an airbrushed super model with amazing, glowing skin.  What actually happened was less than thrilling.  As directed, I applied the foundation.  Did it look bad?  No.  Did it look jaw-dropping amazing?  Not so much.  It basically looked very much like the drugstore foundations I had been using.  Of course I vowed to try again.  That night I moisturized like I was headed to the Arctic, assuming that would make all the difference.  Still no luck.  After more than a week of using this coveted foundation I broke down and returned it.  It was too expensive to keep for mediocre results.

 

The lesson here, my friends, is just because it has a fancy brand attached to it; just because it's expensive;  just because you saw it on Instagram; doesn't mean it's the Holy Grail.  You have to find what works for you.  It may be a high-end, glitzy bottle you are proud to share on Instagram.  Or you may find yourself with a drugstore brand foundation that you once used in middle school.  You have to be true to you.

 

For more from Makeup by Kelly follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Snapchat (makeupbykheid).  

If you follow me at all you already know my Holy Grail mascara is Too Faced Better than Sex.  After all the mascaras I have tried in my entire life nothing compares.  Not only does it give me volume AND length, one tube lasts me much longer than any other mascara I have ever tried.  That being said, I like to have a cheaper alternative for those days that I'm not doing much but running errands or hitting one of my kid's games.  

Navigating my way through the drugstore brand mascaras is a daunting task.  There are hundreds to chose from.  And believe me, I feel like I have tried them all!  I'm not going to lie; I started to feel a little defeated, as if I may never find a good cheap alternative to my favorite mascara.  This past week I felt a glimmer of hope as I tried the Maybelline Colossal Big Shot mascara.  It's all about that brush ladies.  My official stance on mascara wands is that a plastic wand is just not for me.  I like a wand with bristles;  lots of them!  They hit each lash and drag it up.  With more bristles comes less clumping.  Score!

While I still prefer my Too Faced mascara, this one is a great second to it.  I got volume, I got length, and better yet, no clumping.  You need to try this one, and when you do share with me your experience with it.  I'd love to hear.

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Just when I thought I had reached my peak shade of paleness, January happened and my skin tone turned from fair to pasty.  Something tells me that you, too, are experiencing your lightest complexion of the year.  So,  what is there to do about this?  

For one thing, we just need to embrace it.  Now is a time where bold lips are striking, eye shadow really stands out, and cheeks dusted in a soft shade of peach are just so delicate looking.  Go for it; be brave and try something new with you makeup colors.

Now do me one favor, make sure your foundation actually matches your neck.  I know, I know, that makes you feel super ghostly, and in a word, just...yuck.  I totally get it.  You need bronzer!  Not heavy bronzer, and definitely not a dark bronzer.  Please do not bust out your summer bronzer.  You need a light soft bronzer, and I have just the one for you; it's Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer.

 

 

This bronzer is light in tone and texture.  When swiped across the face the smell of a tropical beach will fill your senses; it's truly dreamy.  Focus it on the outside of your face.  You don't want to dust this all over your face; not this time of year.  You are trying to subtly warm up your face, that's all.  We are not trying to fake a beach tan here.  With a light hand sweep the bronzer from the top of your forehead, down the temples, and along the outside of the cheekbone.  

If bronzer is scary to you just use a finishing powder in two shades darker than your true match.  It will add a little warmth to the face as well.  That's a great trick if you find yourself as a 1 or 2 on the foundation shade chart.

As we begin a new year I hope you will take this as an opportunity to try new things, and get out of your box a little.  Wishing you all a blessed 2017!

While every one else was celebrating and relaxing over the holiday break, we were putting our dog down.  There I said it; my Lexi-lou, our 12 year old lab is gone from this World.  I just needed to get that off my chest right away.  If you have never had the love of a dog you totally will not understand where I am coming from.  Before Lexi I didn't get it either.  For those of you who have 4-legged family members I know you can feel my pain.  My hope is by making this post my heart will start to heal, because right now I am just stuck in a place of grief I can't let go.

Like so many newlywed couples Brian and I decided to get a dog right after we got married.    What I actually mean is that I begged and pleaded with Brian to let us get a dog; he in turn conceded, and was quick to mention he would have nothing to do with this dog.  He did not plan to clean up after the dog, train the dog, or pick up doggie-doo in the backyard.  I was elated he finally caved, and we immediately looked in the paper for our pup.  

The days and weeks that followed were tough.  Our sweet pup nipped at our heels, got into everything, and cried all night long.  While these challenges were supposed to be 100% my responsibility, Brian crumbled as he fell in love with our dog on day 1.  The second night of Lexi crying in her cage my sweet husband took his pillow out to the kitchen, and slept on the floor next to her with his fingers poking through her cage so she could smell him.  Right there before my eyes my husband had turned into a softy; Lexi showed me that.  Over the years Brian would be the one to clean up 90% of the messes she made.  He also cleaned her ears constantly from her persistant ear infections, and in the end cleaned up almost all of her accidents as well.  This holds true for similar things with our kids.  Brian is the kind of guy who just gets things done, and is more help than I probably ever give him credit for; Lexi showed me that. 

 

The years that passed were like the pages out of "Marley & Me".  Please tell me you have read that book?  You know that scene were Marley goes to the beach?  Yes, that happened to us!  Our sweet pup turned holy terror also chewed up everything, including the legs of our brand new bedroom furniture a week after we bought it!  I was terrified Brian would kill her or make us give her back.  But he didn't; he had far more patience than I gave him credit for; Lexi showed me that.  

 

 

We spent our time with her taking walks, chucking the ball, and snuggling.  Quickly the time came when we were going to have our first baby. I was nervous how Lexi would accept the new baby. Would she be aggressive?  Would she smother the baby?  I distinctly remember one evening as Brian put together the baby swing, I sat there very pregnant watching Lexi sniff around all these new baby items.  In a wave of hormonal emotions I burst into tears. Through my sobs I told him how others had told me my feelings for Lexi would change once the new baby arrived. There was no way I could imagine not loving her the same way I always had. In those first weeks we had our daughter home I felt relief.  Lexi was amazing with the baby!  If Luci was laying on a blanket, Lexi was right by her side.  She never made me uncomfortable around any of my kids at any point in their lives...NEVER. Her delicate, yet protective nature over the baby made me love her even more.

I wish I could tell you I always loved Lexi with the same intensity I once did. Honestly, there was a short period of time my feelings for Lexi did change. Once we brought home our third child I was overwhelmed:  I worked, I had a new house, I had three children ages 4 and under.  Life was crazy, and Lexi began to get in the way.  She was craving my attention, stealing the kids toys, always under my feet, just another mouth to feed. My feelings for her had changed just as others said they would. There were times after everyone was tucked into bed that I would fall on the floor next to her out of sheer exhaustion, and she would slide over to me tail wagging, and lay her head on my stomach. In those moments I remembered what life used to be like.  I would apologize to her for the lack of walks, and my lack of patience.  Wagging her tail and licking my face, showing me what unconditional love looks like; just another thing Lexi showed me.

As those few years of complete chaos subsided ( or maybe I just got used to them), my love for her returned. Then I began to see a change in my 4-legged friend. The girl who once jumped and ran all around the yard, no longer had the energy. Where she once was under foot at every moment she now lay quietly sleeping in the middle of the madness. My heart turned soft for her again. Our time was coming to an end, and I knew it. We spent the last years snuggling once again.  Every night after the kids went to bed Lexi and I had our ritual.  I would get my computer out to work and grab us a snack; salsa and chips were our favorite. She would sit perfectly still beside me as I would hand her a chip. Ever so delicately, because she is a lady, she would take it out of my hand and chomp away.  I swear, if you could've seen her in those moments you would think she was smiling.  I will miss that the very most.

This past year was the worst.  My girl was struggling with her back hips, and over the course of the year, had lost nearly 30 lbs. To watch her try to stand was unbearable. I could hear the silent suggestions from our friends and family that visited our home this year that it may be time for Lexi.  In all honesty, I ignored it as long as I possibly could.

 

Knowing the road that lie ahead we decided to surprise the kids with a puppy for Christmas. We figured we would have Lexi maybe until Spring or Summer and a puppy would help the kids transition. Lexi had different plans, the week before Christmas Lexi stopped eating, she slept all day long, had several accidents, and then for whatever reason began to limp on her front paw leaving her with only one good leg. She looked old, very very old. We knew what we had to do.

On December 27th we put Lexi down. Telling my kids to say good-bye to their dog was unimaginable, but necessary. I wanted them to have some closure with the dog they grew up with I wanted Lexi to feel there love one last time before we took her. What happened in that vet's office was gut-wrenching & the hardest thing I have had to do. Watching my husband tell Lexi good-bye ripped my heart out. Together we wrapped her in our love and our tears and told her what a good girl she was & how very much we loved her. Having Lexi changed us from a couple to a family. She taught us so much about each other and how to be a team. I will never forget her, and never stop loving her.

Rest in Peace my Lexi-lou. You gave us so many wonderful gifts, but your undying love for us is what we will miss the most.